At practice Monday, Mike Brown announced that Kobe’s play on opening night will be a game time decision. With Kobe out a seventh consecutive day (foot), Dwight Howard still not 100 percent in terms of endurance, and Jordan Hill sitting out another day at practice, the Lakers will be looking to their bench more than ever. Unfortunately, it sounds like the bench still has a lot of work to do, and only about 20 hours until their first regular season game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday evening.
After going 0-8 in the preseason, Mike Brown explained that one of his goals was to affirm the roles of the bench players. However, Brown does not seem confident in those roles just yet.
“Not yet. I’m still mixing and matching pieces right now…but we’re getting closer.”
Steve Nash mimicked the same words as his head coach.
“I wouldn’t say they’ve had too much opportunity but it’s coming. They’re doing a great job in practice now they just need reps in the game.”
Veteran Pau Gasol said that he has been impressed with both their effort and desire for competing, but also talked about the added pressure.
“They know they’re going to have pressure on them…the spotlight will be on the starting five but they can’t fall back when we’re not on the floor…if something doesn’t work… its going to be criticized, pointed out and then the bench guys have to maximize their time out there. They have to know who is going to be out there and I don’t think it’s all said and done at this point.”
The Lakers’ bench was an issue last season, and hasn’t been encouraging so far in the preseason. If the team is going to reach their ultimate goal of winning a championship, they’re going to need production from the bench throughout the regular season and the playoffs.
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